Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Pad Project: Sewing Cloth Pads for Girls in Developing Countries

About 3 weeks ago I pitched a crazy dream to a friend. "Let's sew cloth pads for girls in developing countries." Without missing a beat, she excitedly jumped on board and we started a project that has awed me in the power of God's work.

As a young girl starting your period is the rite of passage. In the US we don't really make a big deal out of it, it's typically discussed between a mother and daughter and later maybe her friends. There is no outside marker to show this physical change, though this girl may feel a time of pride or even confusion. But her life goes on as normal - she will continue to go to school, try to work through the discomfort at sports practice and learn how to live with this on a monthly basis.
In other parts of the world this same rite of passage can be mean the end of your educational career. She is unable to have it discreetly because of a lack of sanitary products. She may become very ill because her lack of options in materials that she can use or how she's able to wash them. Her culture may require her to be physically secluded because of the fear of evil spirits. Even in developed nations she may not be allowed in the kitchen or to touch her father. The typical response is exclusion. 
I can't imagine being in a world where a completely natural and NECESSARY biological function to mankind removes me from what I want or need to do. 
This idea has been bouncing around in my head for several months. I know that I live in a highly privileged world where I worry for very little, especially my period. I have been consciously searching for ways where I can use this privilege to make a change. It was recently reignited when I read the stories about Flo, a handheld washing, drying and carrying device for cloth pads and Kiran Ghandi who ran a marathon while "free bleeding." My journey began by applying the desire for a world where everyone is equally valued to something very small and simple- giving some girls pads so that they can continue on their lives without being hindered by unreasonable fears. It doesn't matter to me whether I change four girls lives or 40. Each one deserves this very basic dignity.

I can't wait to dive further into this topic of education, health and sanitation and sociological response to menstruation. It makes sense - I have a degree in Sociology. This is the stuff I would have spent hours devouring while in college and especially now, as the mother of two daughters, I see clearly why this is an important topic for me to discover and share with anyone who will listen.
Why cloth pads, you might ask. Disposables are surely easy for us to come by and donate. In our culture using cloth versus disposables is usually a matter of choice. Think about it this way - how much does a pad cost in The United States? Pennies. Disposable items are very cheap for us. In other countries it's the exact opposite. It is a luxury to throw something away after using it once. A luxury that most of the world does not have.  Providing a girl with a set of disposable pads will help her for a matter of hours. Cloth pads, on the other hand, have a lifespan of years.

My friend, Kelsey, and I brought this concept to several like-minded women and our idea has spread like wildfire. A large part of our project goals was to use as much material available to us that is simply laying around the house. Items like fabric remnants from previous projects, worn out bed sheets and receiving blankets that were waiting for a someday baby. Quickly several women came forward with yards and yards of their fabric stashes, purchased KAM snaps and several have donated their time to help us put these together. Many recognize the need and importance of this project and they are eager to step forward to help make this happen. I can't believe how blessed we have been.
A common question is "where will they go?" We are currently working to complete our first goal in providing a set of 8 pads per girl in our MOPS group participation in Operation Christmas Child, which is 64 pads total. With the help of others, we are also striving to include a bar of soap, a set of underwear and a wet bag per stash too. Operation Christmas Child will be our primary vehicle in sending this first shipment but we want to continue beyond that. We have several contacts in various organizations and missions, and we are working on narrowing down where we feel they would best go.

In this picture you'll see our little "booster" pads included too. We made these thinner boosters to lay on top of the pad to add for extra absorbency on heavier days.

And that's kind of what has been on my heart and mind for the last month! xoxo

Monday, October 12, 2015

Be Careful When Line Drying Your Diapers - guest post from Zephyr Hill Blog

The blog is on a bit of a hiatus while I work on recovering my laptop from a recent mishap between Ruby, a cup of coffee and the keyboard. Yea...that happened. So thankfully my good bloggy friend Anne came to my rescue and took over my blog for a post. Anne is a great resource for everything cloth diaper, be sure to check her blog out!

Be Careful When Line Drying Your Diapers

Line drying is a great way not only to save energy, but also to benefit from the stain-fighting power of the sun. However, there are a few things you'll want to be aware of when line drying your cloth diapers. I've made a few mistakes along the way, and would like to share a few tips.

1. The weight of a wet, heavy diaper can loosen up elastics over time. To save wear and tear on the elastic, try draping fitteds, contours and AIO diapers over the line instead.

2. The sun can fade stains, but too much can be a bad thing and colors will begin to fade. One way to get around this is to turn the diaper inside out, thus protecting the sun-sensitive fabric. This is not a concern if you're drying flats or prefolds, however.

3. Avoid mishaps by bringing in your diapers as soon as they are dry. Too many times, I've forgotten about the laundry outside and it got drenched in a rainstorm, pooped on by passing birds or soiled from dust and dirt carried by the wind. Nosy pets, especially ones who love to jump or climb, can also cause mischief.

4. Keep your diapers looking good by using clean clothespins with no rusty parts. My favorites are the rust-free, UV-stabilized Hills clothespins. I've had my set for nearly 4 years and they still work great and look great.

5. Diapers may come off the line feeling a bit stiff or crunchy. Try the "air fluff" feature on your dryer for just a few minutes. Toss in a few tennis balls or wool dryer balls to boost the softening effect.

Do you have any line drying tips for cloth diapers?
    Anne is the creator of the family-oriented Zephyr Hill Blog. A busy homeschooling mother of seven, Anne enjoys cloth diapering, cooking and trying to convince her husband to add yet another animal to the family.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Updated TB Blood Test will save more lives!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the TB Blood Test
I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

We live in an age where we have all the information in the world at our finger tips. We can find out the gender of our baby before they are born, we know instantly when our bank account is replenished or drawn from and when our friend posts about their new milestone in life. The same goes for many types of medical tests. What used to take an unimaginable amount of time (if it was even possible) now can be determined in a short amount of time. 

When I was pregnant with my first child, my midwife ran a blood test that I wasn't aware of that she had done until I received a phone call from a nurse a few weeks later. The nurse informed me that my test had come back positive as being a carrier for cystic-fibrosis. This isn't a typical test, I'm not sure why she ran it, but it's been suggested that due to my Eastern European heritage it prompted her to be on the safe side. This revelation was frightening and we had my husband tested shortly after. His results were returned in less than 48 hours; he is not a carrier. Our children have a very low likelihood of being CF positive, though they will have a good chance of being carriers, like myself.

This small amount of information was powerful. My mother was not likely tested when she was pregnant with me, but I now have the ability to share this with my children when they choose to have a family. Something as simple as knowing this information ahead of time is a huge relief.

Recently I've been doing research on Tuberculosis (TB). Why? I don't know, because I'm a mom and I tend to want to be informed at least a little bit on a lot of things. Did you know that until recently the test for TB was a 110 year old test? REALLY. I guess on one hand that's impressive that it's withstood the test of time, but on the other hand - it really wasn't that accurate and required multiple doctors visits. 

But what is TB? Isn't it a disease of the past? It's been known as the consumption, the White Plague, and the earliest known disease to man. It's not a disease of the past. It's still very possible to get it today. According to the WHOTB is spread from person to person through coughs, sneezes or spit. The germs get into the air and it only takes inhaling a few of these germs to become infected.Those with compromised immune systems have a much higher risk. Symptoms (cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss etc.) may be mild for many months. It's easily confused with other common illnesses, which means it can be spread to many more people in the delay for getting tested.  Those with TB can infect up to 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.

This is why there was a great need for the 110 year old test to become more accurate and have a faster result time. The new, revamped TB test is the only available method of testing for TB with completely objective results. Other tests, such as the skin test, are subjective and open to visual interpretation.

The new TB test is a small blood draw and provides fast, non-visually based objective results. The old "skin test" relied on two visits. On the first visit you are injected with tuberculin and if you are infected there will be a raised bump at the injection site, but this required a second doctor's visit to confirm. 

While it is a low likelihood to contract TB in the United States ("a
 total of 9,421 TB cases (a rate of 2.96 cases per 100,000 persons)"; source: CDC), knowledge is power. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

What will you find at JBF Everett/Monroe this weekend?

Last night I got shop at the Just Between Friends of Everett/Monroe pre-sale event! You might I have to be a blogger to shop at this exclusive pre-sale? NO! As a matter of fact, my pre-sale pass was all thanks to being a consignor and for volunteering my time. So for the next sale, you can too! 

Anywho, as well know, I am a fan of JBF sales. Like - super fan girl - fan. Why? Because of this:

$5.88 / item on average.

This is enough to get excited for, am I right?

So as usual I snapped pictures of other fabulous things that you can find at JBF this weekend, so scroll along and check out these awesome items that local moms brought in for consignment.

 A whole aisle of Halloween / dress up costumes!

 Tons of brand new Melissa & Doug

So get yourself down to the Evergreen State Fairground this weekend!
Just Between Friends of Everett/Monroe consignment sale
October 1-4 2015

Evergreen State Fairgrounds
Commercial Bldg: 14405 179th Ave SE Bldg #400
Monroe, WA

Friday October 2 20159:00a - 3:00p Public Sale Day 2, free admission!
Saturday October 3 2015
9:00a - 5:00p Public Sale Day 3, free admission!
5:30 - 7:00p HALF PRICE PRESALE! Get your early access ticket here

Sunday October 4 2015
8:00a - 2:00p Half Price Sale - all items without a star are 50% off!
This is an abbreviated schedule; please see the full event schedule here.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by JBF Everett/Monroe. All opinions are my own.


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